Today's featured Mixologist is Cortney Wilson, assistant manager of restaurants and bars for Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Cortney is also the resident mixologist for District American Kitchen & Wine Bar inside the hotel. In her role as assistant manager, Wilson oversees operations of all food and beverage venues within the hotel
As the restaurant’s primary mixologist, Wilson is able to indulge her true creative passion. She develops the seasonal bar and cocktail menus for District American Kitchen & Wine Bar as well as working with her team to craft the eatery’s Mixologist’s Drink of the Day.
In the development of craft cocktails, Cortney relies on her extensive culinary background. Prior to starting with Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel more than three years ago, she spent five years as a Chef at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, a Waldorf Astoria Collection. She also served as a restaurant consultant and executive chef for more than three years at Diamond Jim’s in her hometown of Mi Wuk Village, Calif. Her relationship with Diamond Jim’s continues today as she acts as guest chef for the owner’s bi-annual golf tournaments.
In her spare time, Cortney tends to her extensive fruit, herb and vegetable garden, which is often the source of the inspiration for the innovative cocktails she creates. This is demonstrated well in the Mushroom Manhattan below. A mushroom cocktail may sound extreme but with hints of apricot chantrelles unlike their counterparts seem to be a more fruity fungi.
When asked how she came up with the Mushroom Manhattan Cortney responded,
“The goal for District American Kitchen and Wine Bar’s mixology program was to take it back it to the roots of classic American cocktails, giving classic drinks like Old Fashioned (s) and Manhattans a modern twist. Specifically, I wanted to work with my team to put out of the ordinary food products into play in recipes. One of the bartenders came in with the Chanterelle infused bourbon and we just went from there.”
(recipe courtesy of District American Kitchen & Wine Bar)
2 ounces chanterelle mushroom infused Cave Creek Bourbon
2 dashes of Figgy Pudding Bitters
1 ounce apricot syrup
Combine ingredients in Manhattan glass and garnish with Luxardo cherry and chanterelle mushroom. (Use re-hydrated, bourbon soaked chanterelle for garnish)
For the Chanterelle infused Cave Creek Bourbon
5 dried chanterelle mushrooms
1 bottle Cave Creek Bourbon
Soak chanterelles in bourbon for 24-hours.